SNEAK PEEK: Inside U Jelly + Crafted Donuts

Happy New Year, guys! I know it’s a time for resolutions, but can’t we just resolve to enjoy anything we love in moderation instead of restricting ourselves? Because I love donuts, and I’m not giving them up.

Yesterday, I got the chance to head over to Fountain Valley to preview not one, but TWO new donut shops set to open this Saturday, 1/9 to the public! And yes, both media previews were on the very same day as well. What can I say… when donuts call, I must answer!

Tanayas Table U Jelly Taro Donut

This is me, answering the donut call with U Jelly’s taro donut. 😀

Thanks to Jed of @dailyfoodfeed and Andy & Scott of @tryitordiet for the opportunity for me to be here (on a sugar high) to tell you that both places have super creative concepts, unique flavors and a distinct flair of their own.

Here are some details on both places, plus video features to highlight some of the epic treats you’ll find inside each spot:

First, I checked out U Jelly. With their colorful, visually impressive donuts, I was especially drawn to the adorable green Baymax donut, since the flavor of pandan takes me back to my adventures in Malaysia a couple years ago.

After saying hi to some foodie friends and shooting tons of video (see below) plus photos for Instagram, I bit into the taro cream-filled donut to photograph the inside (I swear!)… and ended up devouring it all after shooting! I regret nothing. 😉

I also liked the coconut flan donut… because FLAN! And the warm, oozy pizza-stuffed croissant had me wanting another one, stat (more on that below). Check out the video below here.

Grand opening: 8 p.m. on Saturday, 1/9 at 16051 Brookhurst St. Fountain Valley, CA. The owners of U Jelly are Scott Afters and Andy Nguyen, a.k.a. the Afters Ice Cream guys… so you know it’ll be an awesome grand opening for a super innovative concept, as always. Heads up: The first 50 people get a special gift!

By the way, thank goodness for that pizza croissant (see video above), because it’s the only savory thing I had time to eat before driving a few miles down the road to the next new donut stop.

For providing me with savory goodness, this croissant will always hold a special place in my heart. The ooey gooey cheese and meaty pepperoni just oozed out thanks to the help of my hand model extraordinaire and U Jelly co-owner, Scott Afters. When Foodbeast featured it, they added in the PERFECT soundtrack to complete the entire experience. Here’s the shot… enjoy. 😉

Up next on my donut spree that very same day was Crafted Donuts!

Formerly known as OC Donut Bar, it recently reinvented its donuts with different shapes and flavors, such as a square Cracker Jack donut and more. Here’s how beautiful these donuts look… plus they’re pillowy soft and gigantic — almost the size of my face!

Tanayas Table Crafted Donuts box

The newly reinvented spot also kept some popular classics from the popular older location, such as the pink Homer Simpson Donut. See it in action (along with other beautiful treats) in this quick video sneak peek. And yes, that IS a cereal and milk frosted Fruity Pebbles donut!

Grand opening: Saturday, 1/9 (yes, both donut places are opening the same day but have totally different concepts!) at 8 a.m. with a free donut for every single customer, as well as a $10 gift certificate for the first 100 people.

Both donut spots are equally incredible in their own unique merits. Hope you guys get to enjoy all the grand opening excitement, now that you have the scoop. Let me know what you think!

Cheers 🙂

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VIDEO: The Inside Slurp On Ramen Champ’s Revamp

Tonkotsu Tan Tan

Tonkotsu Tan Tan

Hi all! I know it’s been a while, and I’ve missed you guys tremendously while on the road, in the air, on overnight trains, boats and auto rickshaws in the 10+ cities around India and Hong Kong I was visiting this past summer.

I encountered some obstacles in the health department on the trip, but I’m all good now and back in action here in LA! Stay tuned for a ton of travel food, sights, sounds and protips to come in the form of videos, photos and stories. They’re coming very soon!

But for now, I’d like to dish some local food news, starting with a preview of Ramen Champ’s upcoming re-opening. Because who doesn’t love a warm, hearty bowl of comforting ramen?

Here’s a sneak peek at the new Ramen Champ menu in action:

A few food blogger friends and I got to taste a variety of bowls, and genuinely enjoyed every strand of noodle and every sip of broth.

The soy-based vegan “meat” was a bit sweet for my taste, but I suppose its purpose is to balance the traditional saltiness of the broth. Other than that, the spinach noodles, crispy garlic and complex broth of the vegan ramen made it a true winner for herbivores and omnivores alike.

You can find more on visiting Ramen Champ at their 2nd floor location inside LA’s Chinatown Far East Plaza here.

The conclusion? Whether you get the Original Tonkotsu ramen, the Tonkotsu Tan Tan noodles, the Hot and Sour ramen or the Vegan ramen, you can’t go wrong. They re-open October 2 under new ownership, so I definitely suggest you go check it out if you’re a ramen fan. Cheers!

Ramen Champ Noodles vegan

VIDEO: Celebrating My 100th Episode At Ox And Son

Unique dessertsoy

As many of you know, I’ve enjoyed working alongside Tastemade for a while now, and love being part of this ever growing community that has quickly become like family to me through the ups and downs of life.

In about 6 months of starting out, I somehow reached over 100 videos on my Tanaya’s Table channel!

I don’t know how it happened so fast, but I do know that I had a lot of fun meeting so many great chefs and fellow food lovers along the way.

I feel blessed to have tasted and shared with you so many amazing dishes — everything from street food, hidden gems and fine dining to special events, new openings and pop-up dinners.

Through the countless hours (which would add up to multiple weeks of my life!) filming, hosting, arranging, editing and getting creative with my clips, it’s been a learning process that has given me the opportunity to hone my skills in video content production.

I’m so excited to say that — with a lot of encouragement and requests from my amazing followers — I’m working on launching my Tanaya’s Table YouTube channel as well!

Without further ado… here’s how my friends Nitar and Taylor from Tastemade, and Tastemade itself, showed me some love: They took me out to a magnificent three-course meal at Ox & Son, a new modern American restaurant by FNA Hospitality Group in Santa Monica. 😀

For starters (along with some great wines), we had amazingly fluffy Uni & Eggs with truffle salt & molasses bread with caraway seeds, Kusshi Oysters harvested from fjords in glaciers (see video to hear Chef Brad’s awesome description) and Yellowtail Crudo.

I loved all of them, but the Uni & Eggs (pictured above) really blew my mind and tastebuds! It’s a definite must-try, as the moist, fluffy eggs with crème fraîche and chives go so surprisingly well with the buttery Santa Barbara uni and slightly sweet, soft, deeply flavored bread.

Uni and Eggs

As for main courses, we got the Prime Charcrust Hanger Steak with a crisp cheddar panisse, broccolini, charred onion and black garlic & miso lime béarnaise; Chicken Fried Duck Confit with shaved pickled vegetables, house kimchi slaw and red chili & local honey sauce; and Sticky Pig Cheeks with black vinegar glaze, roasted turnip, coconut black rice and charred leek.

We all sampled from one another’s plates. The Sticky Pig Cheeks that Taylor got were my favorite, with the thick, sweet-tart glaze going so well with the succulent meat. Plus, the black rice with coconut milk took me right back to my travels to Bali a couple years ago!

For dessert — not sure how we had room, but we (okay, especially Nitar and I) always have room for dessert, I suppose! — we got the rich coffee cake & butterscotch deconstructed dessert, as well as the refreshing lemon & strawberry malt deconstructed cake. Peep the one-minute video above for all the visuals and action shots!

If you’re looking for innovative American food with a touch of global flair, I definitely recommend checking out Ox & Son in Santa Monica. Thanks again to Tastemade for making me feel part of the family, and to showing me appreciation in such a delicious and special way. ‘Til next time, on the road to the next hundred videos… Cheers from Tanaya’s Table!

VIDEO: DIY S’mores, Crafty Cocktails + More Inside Crave Expo

Copyright 2015 Tanaya's Table - Mr Bartender Cocktail Crave Expo

Where can you find a DIY s’mores bar, open bar, complimentary gourmet bites, complimentary hairstyles, caricatures, live entertainment, rockin’ beats and a riesling ice luge?

Let me catch my breath for a second before I tell you… all could be found at the second annual Crave Expo, held at The Mark for Events in Beverly Hills!

Although it was a one-of-a-kind exclusive event for those in the media and events industries, I’m here to take you inside with one minute of video highlights :). Check it out here:

Video: Check out one minute of highlights from the stunning Crave Expo

Video: Come with me through the doors of the exclusive and stunning Crave Expo

Memorable bites came from PDA Cuisine, Hanaro, Maggiano’s, Lovesome and New School of Cooking. Innovative vodka, whiskey and gin cocktails by Mr. Bartender hit the spot with herbs, bacon and candied ginger garnishes.

It was a very well planned and executed event in the perfect venue, with each room having its own vibe. DJ White Jade got people dancing in the back room with a perfect blend of unique old school tracks you forgot you loved back in the day and new school electronic mashups.

Copyright 2015 Tanaya's Table Tanayas Table broccoli cheese quiche Crave Expo

The entire experience at Crave Expo was classy, interactive and a lot of fun with my fellow Tastemakers and blogger friends. For the entire time we were there, we were never bored. My kind of event for sure.

Stay tuned for a lesson in craft cocktails from behind the bar, new hidden gem finds and more. Cheers!

VIDEO New Opening: 4th Street Market, SoCal’s Most Epic Food Hall

Watch the video for a taste of the good eats you can find at this hip new food hall!

Check out the 1-minute video for a taste of the good eats you can find at downtown Santa Ana’s new food hall!

There’s a hip new food hall in town, and it’s the best one I’ve seen yet! Located in downtown Santa Ana, this new hub of cutting-edge eateries and small food businesses just opened and is ready to please palates.

My wonderful foodie friend Kelli and I ventured over to the new space over the weekend, and we were impressed at how it exceeded our expectations for design, variety, and innovation in their food offerings.

Tanayas Table 4th Street Market Food Hall

I started off with a Radical Botanicals rawktail, which is a raw (non-alcoholic) cocktail made with citrus and coconut milk. It was so delicious, and really settled my stomach to prepare my body for all the awesome food we were about to consume.

Tanayas Table 4th Street Market Radical Botanicals Pressed Juice Raw

Although there are 15 highly select food and drink vendors (there’s even a bar called Recess, by the Playground folks!), we finally settled on the Thai “khao soi” noodles from Jason Quinn’s Noodle Tramp, and the tater tot pork poutine from Stockyard Sandwich Company.

The noodles had a perfect bite and chew to them, and the sauce was rich in flavor and complexity. The tater tot poutine had juicy pork, plus a fried egg on it… so in other words, it was also amazing! The video above has more on these dishes.

Tanayas Table 4th Street Market Khao Soi Noodle Tramp Poutine Stockyard

After enjoying our food in the outdoor patio decorated with bold, colorful graffiti art and planters, we went back inside for some dessert.

Chunk-N-Chip really stood out to us, and what caught my eye the most was their champagne cookies and their French toast with bacon ice cream! I had to get it in sandwich form, I tell you. Who doesn’t want a little libation AND breakfast in their dessert, right? Ha.

The storefront is the ice cream sandwich maker’s first brick-and-mortar, as it started as a food truck. Claudia, the lovely owner, told us they are expanding their flavors and cone options. For now, they have brownie and red velvet waffle cones, but they will soon be rolling out at gluten-free, vegan cone.

I also went behind the scenes to create this video for the making of their brownie batter cones. Trust me, you need to try it for yourself!

Tanayas Table 4th Street Market Chunk N Chip Ice Cream

There is so much more to try at the newly opened 4th Street Market, and I can’t wait to be back soon for the rest.

Check out the video above for the food in action, as well as some shots of the awesome decor. LOVED the quotes from famous foodies on the ceiling!

To find out more on the 4th Street Market, and for hours and directions, go here. Until next time, cheers!